Welcome to

The Computer Butler
Blog

Read on...
Unmute

What are watering hole attacks?

What are watering hole attacks?

When talking about cyberattacks, the first one that usually comes to mind is phishing, a scam that uses email to spread malware or steal personal information. But hackers have a new method to infiltrate your systems, and it’s surprisingly effective. Here’s what you need to know about watering hole attacks.

What are watering hole attacks?
Much like phishing, a watering hole attack is used to distribute malware onto victims’ computers. Cybercriminals infect popular websites with malware. If anyone visits the site, their computers will automatically be loaded with malware.

The malware used in these attacks usually collects the target’s personal information and sends it back to the hacker’s server. Sometimes the malware can even give hackers full access to their victims’ computers.

But how does a hacker choose which websites to hack? With internet tracking tools, hackers find out which websites companies and individual users visit the most. They then attempt to find vulnerabilities in those websites and embed them with malicious software.

Any website can fall victim to a watering hole attack. In fact, even high-profile websites like Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple were compromised in 2013.

You can protect yourself by following these tips.

Update your software
Watering hole attacks often exploit bugs and vulnerabilities to infiltrate your computer, so by updating your software and browsers regularly, you can significantly reduce the risk of an attack. Make it a habit to check the software developer’s website for any security patches. Or better yet, hire a managed IT services provider to keep your system up to date.

Watch your network closely
To detect watering hole attacks, you must use network security tools. For example, intrusion prevention systems allow you to detect suspicious and malicious network activities. Meanwhile, bandwidth management software will enable you to observe user behavior and detect abnormalities that could indicate an attack, such as large transfers of information or a high number of downloads.

Hide your online activities
Cybercriminals can create more effective watering hole attacks if they compromise websites only you and your employees frequent. As such, you should hide your online activities with a VPN and your browser’s private browsing feature.

At the end of the day, the best protection is staying informed. As cyberthreats continue to evolve, you must always be vigilant and aware of the newest threats. Tune in to our blog to find out about the latest developments in security and to get more tips on how to keep your business safe.

 

How to set up your G Suite activity dashboard

How to set up your G Suite activity dashboard

Last March 2018, Google updated G Suite by adding a new activity dashboard to Slides, Docs, and Sheets. It allows you to see the accounts that viewed a certain document and when they opened it, allowing you track individual contributions to a group project. Here are two ways to set it up.

Allow display views inside and outside your business

Your activity dashboard typically allows only internal collaboration without any access to other details. As long as your G Suite administrator enabled view history, you can determine which of your teammates has read your shared Google documents.

The tech giant takes this feature a step further by allowing you to view when people outside the office opened your files. For this to work, you have to…

  1. Open Google Slides, Docs, or Sheets
  2. Select Share
  3. Type in the email address of the person outside your business

To ensure security, you can only see the view history for people outside your business with whom you explicitly shared the file. This means you don’t have access to external viewers if you chose to share files via Public on the web or Anyone with the link.

Do keep in mind that view history is available only once you received an initial notice from your administrator and had the chance to edit privacy settings.

Limit activity dashboard view monitoring

If you’re using the most updated version of G Suite with the activity dashboard, your administrator can change the settings by:

  1. Logging in to in the Admin console where you’ll be redirected to the Apps section
  2. In the Apps section, press G Suite option
  3. In the G Suite option, select Drive and Docs
  4. Once there, click on Activity dashboard settings

Within the settings, you can adjust the Access to Activity dashboard to determine whether or not users can see the activity dashboard. You can also modify Users’ view history if you want to monitor only files and accounts in your business, all user views, or none at all. If you’re unable to decide, we suggest allowing people to have access to the activity dashboard and enabling view tracking for all users.

Google constantly adds new features to their G Suite platform, so stay in touch with us to know how you can use them to boost business operations and productivity. Give us a call today and we’ll introduce you to a suite of Google tools that can take you another step toward achieving your business goals.

 

Time Machine: How to back up your Mac

Time Machine: How to back up your Mac

It is widely believed that Macs are the most trusted computers today. Unlike other computers, they don’t crash often and are better protected against viruses and other malware. But despite their outstanding qualities, Macs are still susceptible to theft, and even crashes. Luckily, Apple offers a convenient way for Mac users to back up and restore their files in case of disasters.

What is Time Machine and why should you use it?

Time Machine is a backup system software for Macs that run on Mac OS X Leopard or later. It makes regular periodic backups in the following intervals:

  • Hourly backups for the past 24 hours
  • Daily backups for the past month
  • Weekly backups for previous months

If you’re concerned about storage space running out fast because of the frequent backups, don’t worry. These scheduled backups don’t replace previously saved files; rather, they only save the changes you’ve made to a file.

Let’s say you’ve been working on a file for five days: Time Machine has periodically created backups of the changes you made every day. So if you need to retrieve a version of a file with changes made on Day 2, you can do so even after you’ve made several changes on the file from Days 3-5 because Time Machine stores multiple copies of the file from Days 1-5.

In case you’re replacing a Mac, you can easily copy all your files from your old computer to the new one, with your settings, files, and folders intact. And if you’re backing up data from several Mac computers, there’s no need to use a separate device for each Mac, provided it has enough space for all files.

How to use Time Machine

To use Time Machine, you only need an external storage drive such as a USB, an SSD card, or any storage device that can be plugged into your Mac. Then follow these steps:

  • Connect an external storage device (or macOS server) to your Mac
  • Go to System Preferences > Time Machine
  • Click ‘Use as Backup Disk’ (It’s recommended that you click Encrypt Backup Disk before you do so, in order to set up a password for accessing your backup)
  • If Time Machine doesn’t automatically pop up when you connect an external storage disk, go to Time Machine via System Preferences or click the Apple icon on the upper left corner of the menu bar, click System Preferences > Time Machine
  • Select the storage disk you’ve just connected, then click ‘Use Disk’

Other backup options

Although there are various other backup systems for Mac, Time Machine is one of the more practical options for users who value simplicity, convenience, and reliability. What’s more, it’s free.

That said, similar backup systems like ChronoSync offer slightly more comprehensive backups. And since Time Machine only backs up data instead of the entire hard drive, restoring an entire system is relatively slower.

Despite this minor shortcoming, Time Machine is a reliable, user-friendly, and economical way to back up your files. Whether you’re backing up a device for personal or business use, using Time Machine ensures all your files are safe and can be recovered. If you need more comprehensive backup solutions, our experts are ready to help — call us today.

 

How to speed up mobile charging

How to speed up mobile charging

Is your phone’s battery still not full despite charging it for 2 hours straight? Although it might not be a big problem when you’re charging it at night, it’s a critical issue if you’re charging it during the day and you need it in a few minutes to make a lengthy business call. Here are four tips to speed up your phone’s charging.

#1. Optimize your phone accessories

One reason why your phone charges slowly is because of poor-quality accessories — such as cables, adapters, and weak sources of electricity.

Cables and adapters

Unless you were careful to take great care of your phone cable and adapter, they might be the reason why your phone is charging so slowly. If you think this could be the problem, we recommend that you change them immediately. After doing so, make sure to use and store your new cable and adapter properly to keep them in tip-top shape.

Charging Source

Did you know that your phone will charge faster if you connect it to a higher amperage charging source? Although mobile phones charge at only 5 volts, depending on the charger you use, you can get amperage from as low as 500mA (milliamps) to as high as 2,100mA. Therefore, it is recommended to forgo charging your mobile device through a computer port (uses 500mA or 900mA) and use a wall charger (ranges from 500-2,100mA) instead.

#2. Clean your phone’s charging port

Another reason why you may experience slower charging time is because of a corroded or obstructed port. If the problem is because of obstruction, get a flashlight, magnifying glass, toothpick, and small brush to completely remove any debris. However, you should be very careful when doing this because the port is very fragile.

We recommend you enlist a professional’s help to clean your port if you’re worried about damaging it or if the problem is due to corrosion.

#3. Background apps

When was the last time you sorted out your phone’s background apps? If you don’t remember, then it’s time to do it! Apps that are opened and left running in the background not only drain your phone’s battery, but also affect your phone’s charging speed. Select “Battery” in your phone’s Settings to find out which apps are using up your phone’s power, and delete them if necessary.

#4. Using your phone while charging

Do you browse the internet while your phone is charging? If yes, then you should stop doing it. Feature-rich apps like WhatsApp and Facebook have been listed as two of the top ten battery draining apps by AVG, which means you may be slowing down your phone’s charging speed when you use them while it charges.

Every successful business needs high-performance mobile phones, but this is only possible if their batteries are juiced. If you want more information about how to speed up charging your phone, contact our experts today.

Non-financial blockchain solutions

Non-financial blockchain solutions

Despite internet connections that deliver information to the other side of the globe in milliseconds, countless industries still rely on slow and inefficient middlemen to complete transactions. From supply chain management to hi-tech contracts, blockchain isn’t just about money, it’s about an entirely new way to do business. Just look at our examples.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain, like the cloud, is more of a concept than a specific piece of software or hardware. It’s the idea that if you store a spreadsheet or ledger on a hundred different computers — each of which receive automatic and encrypted updates — it’s nearly impossible to create a fraudulent entry. If someone adds a line of false information to one spreadsheet, 99 others can confirm it is not in their copy and is therefore inaccurate.

In the Bitcoin ledger, each line represents the transfer of funds from one account to another. So if John wants to transfer money to Jane, he sends a request to Bitcoin’s blockchain and thousands of computers confirm his account information is correct and he has sufficient funds. The money is transferred, both account balances are updated, and the whole process takes less than an hour with almost no human interaction. Much faster than the 5-7 business days of most banks.

There are countless applications for decentralized, real-time record keeping beyond financial transactions, though. And very soon, blockchain won’t be synonymous with Bitcoin.

Blockchain’s potential

Although this technology has been around since the ’90s, it lacked the popularity and computing power necessary to become a mainstream solution…until now. With the rise of cryptocurrencies in 2017, blockchain started seeping into other industries, such as:

  • Law – “Smart contracts” create agreements that automatically execute when their terms are met. For example, an attorney could agree to pay a courier $100 after the delivery of documents to the defendant in a case. The contract and the payment sit in the blockchain until the courier uploads a GPS-tagged photo of services rendered, at which point the money is transferred and the contract archived.
  • Agriculture – Supply chain blockchains can track every ingredient throughout the production process. If several people get sick from the same food item, ingredients could be traced back to their source and products that share the same ingredients could be recalled preemptively.
  • Real estate – Blockchain is being used to automate escrow account transactions, property title transfers, and insurance claims, so they aren’t reliant on slow and error-prone humans. Buying a home could eventually be as easy as finding the one you want, signing a contract, transferring your down payment, and receiving the title — no middleman necessary.

Most blockchain-based solutions are too new to trust with sensitive information. But you can do a few things to get out in front of your competitors. You can work with us to invest in business intelligence software that helps you collect more data, and start experimenting with risk-free blockchain solutions.

As long as you have certified technicians like ours at your disposal, you’ll be sure to see gains in no time — give us a call today!